HCOA honors diverse group of artists

From a 16-year-old new artist to a 90-year-old outdoors and history writer, the 11th annual Homer Council on the Arts Arts Awards shine a light on leaders in the Homer arts community who have distinguished themselves as creators, teachers and arts advocates. 

The HCOA Board of Directors decides the awards based on nominations from the community.

HCOA presents the awards starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the HCOA offices on Pioneer Avenue. Its annual meeting follows.

Most poignantly, HCOA honors Eva Saulitis with its Arts Lifetime Achievement award. Saulitis, 52, died Jan. 16 of cancer. HCOA Director Peggy Paver rents an apartment in the house where Saulitis lived with her partner, Craig Matkin. Paver met with Saulitis two days before she died to tell her she had received the award.

“She was just so thrilled. She got tears in her eyes,” Paver said. “She said, ‘I really appreciate what HCOA does for the community.’”

Saulitis also will be honored at 6:30 p.m. Friday with a memorial reading of her work at Kachemak Bay Campus. People are asked to read short pieces of her work. A finger-food potluck follows. The event is scheduled so that people can attend the HCOA Arts Awards ceremony and then the reading.

Other awards recipients are Arts Leadership/Advocacy: Ed Hutchinson; Arts Education: Rosanna Moyer; Youth Artist of the Year: Felicity Jones; Artist of the Year: Jim Rearden; and Business Arts Patron: Two Sisters Bakery.

Rearden, 90, could easily have won the lifetime achievement award. A World War II U.S. Navy veteran, Rearden has lived in Alaska since 1950 and Homer since 1955. He celebrates his 50th anniversary this week with his wife, Audrey.

Over his writing career Rearden has had nearly 30 books published and more than 500 articles in 40 different magazines, including National Geographic, Sports Afield, Audubon, and Field and Stream. He’s best known for “Shadows on the Koyukuk,” written with Sydney Huntington, and “Alaska’s Wolfman,” about Frank Glaser. He’s received numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Historical Society’s Historian of the Year.

Another longtime artist honored is Ed Hutchinson. Hutchinson paints in oils and is known for his “white on white” wildlife paintings. In his technique, the white paint interacts with the impasto white paint on his canvases, creating shadows.

“You might say I am a shadow painter,” he said.

In Homer, Hutchinson has exhibited at Bunnell Street Arts Center, Ptarmigan Arts and the Pratt Museum. He serves on the Pratt board of directors and on the Pratt Capital Campaign committee.

Rosana Moyer has taught in HCOA’s ArtQuest program and now teaches in her own program. Since 2004 she has focused on teaching art to children, particularly preschool age kids. Paver said one thing the board liked about Moyer is how she inspires young artists through visits to places like the Homer Senior Center.

“She’s very community minded, connecting kids not only to the beauty and art of our natural beauty here, but also to the people,” Paver said

Paver said she met Jones, 16, the Youth Artist of the Year, at the Nutcracker Faire, where Jones had a booth showing her doodles. Jones is homeschooled, and started doodling while listening to education tapes, Paver said.

“It’s taken off as this whole other part of her reality that is pretty intricate and amazing,” she said.

Jones started drawing at age 6 when the family lived in Pemba, Mozambique. Her drawings went from a flat, 2-dimensional style typical of children to detailed drawings of African animals in 3-dimensional poses.

The Business Arts Patron goes to Carri Thurman and Sharon Roufa, owners of Two Sisters Bakery, for their longtime support of nonprofit organizations and the arts in particular.

“They have been so supportive,” Paver said. “More often than not when we have an event going on, when we call and ask for a donation or support, they absolutely are on it and happy to donate whenever they can.”

Paver said Two Sisters bent over backwards to support its big concert last fall, Pink Martini. The cafe provided food for a gala cocktail party and for the performers.

“They were just so easy to work with and so positive and generous,” Paver said.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

HCOA Arts awards

Arts Leadership/Advocacy: 

Ed Hutchinson

Arts Education: 

Rosana Moyer

Youth Artist of the Year: 

Felicity Jones

Artist of the Year: 

Jim Rearden

Arts Lifetime Achievement: 

Eva Saulitis

Business Arts Patron: 

Two Sisters Bakery

Presented at Jan.29 at HCOA’s annual meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and will include: snacks, a review of HCOA’s accomplishments in 2015 and a teaser of this year’s big shows, followed by the awards. 

Tags: ,